COVID-19: Advice for High School Seniors

With schools closed, and many standardized tests canceled, rescheduled, or reformatted, there’s a lot to process as school systems all over the world transition to remote learning, many deciding to grade students on a pass/fail scale instead of the traditional A through F scale.  If you’re a senior this year and planning to attend college in the Fall of 2020, you’re probably trying to make decisions without the option of campus revisits and wondering how AP test changes will affect you come Fall 2020.

Here are some thoughts for you as you consider the next few months…

By now, you have heard from all your schools. All schools should have sent out freshman admissions decisions by April 1. 

How does the COVID-19 pandemic affect me as I make my decision to enroll?

If you have not received notification of college admissions decisions by now,  make sure you contact that school’s admissions office right away. Universities have cancelled open-houses or visit days, and are offering admitted student virtual events in their place. Your decision and deposit are due May 1, 2020, but many colleges are moving their commitment dates out to June 1. If for whatever reason, you feel the need for more time, contact the admissions office as soon as you can to request an extension.  

Remember, this is a very surreal year for every single person and that colleges are aware of the financial impacts of this Covid-19 pandemic. Due to the economic constraints caused by COVID-19, some schools are waiving the deposit OR extending the due date for the deposit.  It is important to know when each school is expecting to receive payment as this may impact you and your family’s decision making process. If this information isn’t readily available on the school’s website, call the business or admissions office and ask. 

Also, PLEASE read your emails and make sure you reach out to colleges with any questions or concerns you may have. Colleges and universities have people working in their business and admissions offices, so make sure to call or email those offices directly with questions specific to your family’s circumstances.

Once enrolled, how might the COVID-19 pandemic affect me?

The good news, assuming you have committed to a university and paid your deposit, and that you complete the rest of the school year in good standing, is that you will be ready to start school with your peers as a member of the class of 2024. However, depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic plays out, registration dates, student orientations, move in dates, and the start of classes could be impacted. Don’t fret. Everyone is in the same proverbial boat. Just stay focused and tuned into news coming from the college or university you have committed to. 

Finally, if you plan to take AP tests this spring.  How does the COVID-19 pandemic affect me?

By now, you have probably learned that the College Board has changed the procedures for AP testing for this year.  Students will take the tests remotely on a device. The exam will be much shorter and consist of 1-2 open response questions, and students will be allowed to use notes.  For a full rundown of the new procedures, click here.  

Colleges and universities have stated that they will accept results from the AP Exams this year, but it remains to be seen whether colleges and universities will issue the same level of credit for this shortened assessment as they may have in the past. 

What advice can we offer as so many worry about how COVID-19 will affect us, no matter who we are? Remember to keep all this in perspective, to look for the silver linings, and to ask the questions you need answers to. There isn’t much anyone can do about not being able to see every campus before making a final decision about enrollment. Nor is there much anyone can do regarding the unknowns pertaining to AP tests. You can stay focused on getting through this year, staying connected to your friends, and making the most of the situation by doing the best you can on the exams you have ahead of you. You can continue to communicate effectively with the colleges you are considering and committing to. Beyond that, take care of you, don’t stress and take comfort in the fact that this is a new and strange landscape for us all…and that we will all figure this out together. 

And if you need a little perspective, coaching, counseling or academic support or advice along the way, we’re here to help.

How Can Education Station help?

Online programs are available everyday to support students during this hectic time! For students who are just beginning the college process, check out our SAT/ACT Test Prep programs, AP Exam Prep Courses and FREE Resources– including a college profile review session with our co-founder and expert college counselor, Christine Chapman. If you are ready to get a jump start on your application, College Process Workshops are available online. From test prep to application form-filling… we can support you at any stage of the college process!

By Christine Chapman, Co-Founder & Expert Admissions Counselor and Educational Consultant